A very specified classified computer system has crashed at a Nevada base that is used to oversee military drone operations across the globe.
The Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) system crashed on September 9, 2016 at Creech Air Force Base. SIPRNet is the Department of Defense network for the exchange of classified information and messages at the SECRET level. It supports the Global Command and Control System, the Defense Message System, and numerous other classified warfighting and planning applications. Although the SIPRNet uses the same communications procedures as the Internet, it has dedicated and encrypted lines that are separate from all other communications systems.
The Air Combat Command reports that services were somewhat restored with the use of multiple less powerful devices but warned that the temporary solution stabilized the services, but will not be able to maintain the demand for very long.
If the temporary solution fails, there is currently no other backup system.
Military officials would not say whether the critical failure was due to internal technical issues, a cyberattack, or something else, according to Buzzfeed. The site says there were a series of drone-related incidents after the computer crash, including the accidental killings of soldiers in Syria and Somalia and the deaths of 15 civilians in Afghanistan. US officials would not say if there was a connection.
MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reaper drones are piloted from the base, which is situated about 50 miles outside of Las Vegas.